Island Airways is a unique 76-year-old family run business. The company serves Beaver Island’s small community, which has a year-round population of 600.
The operation is run by husband and wife, Angela and Paul Welke from Welke Airport, a privately owned public use airport on the Northeast side of the island.
At this stage the Island Airways team feared for the future of the airline. Since then a transformative change has occurred within the region’s tourism sector, a trade Beaver Island relies heavily upon.
Domestic inter-state travel has risen almost exponentially.
This has opened the island up to a new, more local market seeking respite and escape. This market change triggered the requirement for a fifth 260hp Islander.
Angel Welke, President of Island Airways, stated: “The Islander is the perfect aircraft! There is no rival twin engine in existence.
“The flight from Beaver Island to Charlevoixis just 15 minutes and my husband, Paul, has over 15,000 hours flying the Islander; that’s how vital it is to our operation. For us, versatility is key.
“The Islander allows us to meet the unprecedented demands of an entire community.
“We can readily switch between roles, not only delivering lifeline freight and passenger services, but also providing a medevac service in the case of emergency.
“Paul and I are delighted to see demand increasing again, we look forward to serving this wonderful community even more efficiently with our new aircraft.”
William Hynett, President and CEO of Britten-Norman’s Miami based US division said: “To see Island Airways thriving amid a global pandemic is a true triumph, we are thrilled for everyone involved.
“The Islander has excelled in a variety of roles due to its low operating costs, versatility and robust design. We are really pleased to see Island Airways growing its fleet.”